One of the most common symptoms women experience during menopause is mood swings. It may be hard to deal with the emotional rollercoaster mood swings can bring, but there are things women can do to minimize their severity. On top of treating the root cause of the mood swings -- hormonal imbalance -- environmental factors can also be changed in order to improve the menopausal experience.
What Causes Mood Swings?
Mood swings are thought to be caused by imbalanced hormone levels in women. The important female hormones estrogen and progesterone interact with the neurotransmitter serotonin to regulate mood. When hormone levels become imbalanced, mood-related symptoms such as depression, anxiety, or irritability can result.
How Can I Control My Mood Swings?
Mood swings can be aggravated by environmental factors such as stress or relationship problems. Read on for five quick tips on how to control your mood:
Get Out of the House
One of the most important thing you can do if you are prone to mood swings is to set aside time for yourself every day. This can be a struggle for many women who are balancing a career, a relationship, and children, but finding time for rest and relaxation is a must. The best way to achieve this is to get out of the house. Take a book or your MP3 player to the local park to escape the pressures of work or home life.
Women who exercise regularly may find they experience fewer instances of mood swings than those who do not. That is because staying active boosts endorphin production in the brain, which in turn elevates mood. Pair a cardiovascular activity like running or walking with yoga to improve health and reduce mood swings.
Reduce Caffeine and Sugar Intake
It is time to clear out your cupboards and remove two dietary enemies: caffeine and sugar. While coffees, sodas, and chocolates may seem to boost your mood at first, the high is only temporary. Caffeine and sugars actually increase irritability, anxiety, and feelings of sadness in the long-term. Try to snack on natural sugars like dried fruits and drink herbal tea instead of coffee.
Finding support is critical when you are experiencing mood swings. Talk with your partner and your friends about the feelings you are experiencing, and tell them how they can help. If problems persist, consult a healthcare professional or counselor for guidance.
Eat More Protein and Carbohydrates
Foods containing complex carbohydrates such as potatoes, wheat, and bran help boost serotonin levels, which can help stabilize moods. Foods high in protein, such as chicken, fish, and dairy products, are rich in amino acids, which can help women cope with mood swings.
These are tips for how to reduce the environmental triggers associated with mood swings. They can help to balance hormones by improving overall health. For more information on other methods of balancing hormones and improving mood swings, follow the links below.
- Amin, Zenab, Turhan Canli, and C. Neill Epperson. "Effects of Estrogen-Serotonin Interactions on Mood and Cognition". Behav Cogn Neurosci Rev 2005; 4; 43.
- Dr. Love, Susan, and Karen Lindsey. Dr. Susan Love's Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- Molecular Psychiatry. (n.d9."Estrogen Promotes Gender Difference in Brain's Response to Stress". Retrieved from www.psycheducation.org.
- The Health Center.(n.d)."Adult Mood Swings". Retrieved from www.thehealthcenter.info.